NanoFinish Corporation
Fiber Optic Surface Finishing

Fiber Optic End Connect Polishing

Fiber Optic Surface Finishing

In general, polishing of fiber optic connectors requires an epoxy removal polish step followed by a rough, intermediate and final polishing step. Silicon carbide (SiC) or alumina (Al2O3) lapping films are typically used for epoxy removal and the rough polishing steps because they are lower cost, although diamond has better performance and is more effective for polishing ceramic ferrule connectors and APC type connectors. For the intermediate and final polishing steps, fine diamond or alumina lapping films are most commonly used. Table I provides a list of the most common abrasives and support surfaces used for polishing fiber optics.

Table I. Range of Fiber Optic Polshing Abrasives


Common Abrasive Types

Support Surfaces
1st Epoxy removal -5 to 30 micron SiC
-5 to 20 micron Alumina
-3 to 30 micron Diamond

-40-90 Shore D Rubber pads

-DI water
2nd Fiber orientation and geometry -5 to 12 micron SiC
-5 to 12 micon Alumina
-2 to 12 micron Diamond
-70 Shore D Rubber pads -DI water
3rd Geometry -2 to 5 micron Diamond
-0.01 to 3 micron Alumina
-70 Shore D Rubber pads
-Polishing pads
-DI water
4th Surface finish and final geometry -0.01 to 1 micron Diamond
0.01 to 0.5 micron Alumina

-70 Shoe D Rubber pads
-Polishing pads

-DI water

Epoxy Removal - Most connectors are still manufactured by aligning the fiber and then ingecting epoxy into the ferrule to hold the fiber in place. After cleaving, the protruding fiber and the excess epoxy are removed by grinding with a lapping film. The use of a 15 micron SiC lapping film for this step is quite common.

Polishing - A rough, intermediate and final polish are use to both shape and produce an optical transparent surface. For curved surfaces lapping films on a Rubber pad (typcially Shore 70 hardness) produce the desired curvature for optimum perfornance. In practice, the polishing procedures are very dependent upon the type of connector as well as the users polishing equipment and polishing parameters.

Polishing fiber optics
  Poishing fiber optics
3D Optical Profile of a Polished Single
Mode Connector
  3D Optical Profile of a Polished Multi-cable

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